Cabin by the Lake

4 consumer reviews
Average Product Rating: OK
5 stars
4 stars
1
3 stars
2 stars
1
1 star
2
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

An Underwater Sea Garden of Corpses and the Little Movie that Couldn’t

Jul 28, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros:Interesting concept, good cinematography, great music score

Cons:Horrible acting, becomes formulaic and predictable quickly

The Bottom Line: Cabin by the Lake aspires for greatness and instead does a dizzying dive into disappointing drivel; it’s okay-ish in segments, but overall isn’t worth watching.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

Having originally viewed this film when I was about twelve, I rediscovered it recently and backed by memories of its disturbing aura, grabbed the popcorn and cuddled up with kitty for a scary film fest. Unfortunately, what I remembered as unique and disturbing proved immature, formulaic, and poorly rendered. Hmm, wonder about all those other childhood memories of “great” movies . . .

Stanley Caldwell, acclaimed hack novelist and screenwriter is working on his new horror flick aptly titled “Garden of Flesh.” Stanley’s film chronicles the deviations of a murderous psychopath who drowns women and chains them in his underground sea “garden” which he tends devotedly. The twist is that in order to make his film more realistic and his writing more emotionally charged, Stanley performs actual killings and underwater corpse tending sessions as background research. Cabin by the Lake starts with Stanley’s latest murder and a cinemagraphically haunting trip to Stanley’s diaphanously clad corpses backed by shockingly vibrant seaweed. Now, closing in on the script’s completion, Stanley seeks the final victim and adornment for his ghoulish garden choosing a young, spunky teenager who just might be his undoing . . .

One of the few well done elements that Cabin by the Lake did actually posses was the fairly unique concept of a man drowning and then tending a garden of dead girls. It’s different, ghoulish, and somewhat disturbing. Unfortunately, the more creative plot aspects soon fell by the wayside as the film falters and then slumps into a desperate downhill slide into mediocrity. When Stanley abducts Mallory, his grand finale victim, the promising storyline rapidly degenerates. Predictability and rampant illogicality plus abysmal acting all conspire to take the inspired and make it insipid.

As Stanley drags Mallory to the spot just above his garden of graves, readying her for her final moment, a team of freaky special effects people and a monotone cop (Boone) just so happen to be swimming through the water and predictably rescue Mallory at the last moment. Presumably, Stanley is unaware of her rescue and returns home, riding high on the euphoric tide of murder and a completed slasher script. Now, why is it that in every horror film the main protagonist comes within seconds of horrific demise just to be snatched from the jaws of death by a handsome man who just so happens to be sauntering (or swimming) by? And, why is it that in every horror film the villain remains blissfully unaware of his impending discovery? Creative becomes contrived and it just gets worse from there.

As with all horror films, the police department is under staffed and comically inept. One wonders if these guys could even manage to find their bumbling way to Dunkin Donuts, much less track down an insane killer with a green thumb. Boone, Mallory’s dashing and dimwitted savior soon becomes her romantic interest . . .didn’t see that coming. After rescuing her, knowing full well that her killer is a local on the loose, the police take the next logical horror movie step. They leave her unguarded in an indefensible hotel room in an isolated area late at night. And, to complete the slasher film fetish she does indeed get naked and take a shower . . . so very, very original. Brava!

Now, I know that you didn’t see this coming, but somehow *gasp* Mallory gets abducted again by Stanley and once again finds herself held captive in his cabin, being primed for her watery grave all over again. Naturally, although Stanley is aware of the ongoing search for the “garden’s” murderous tender, he makes no move to actually get out of the area or hide evidence. Instead, he follows the logical course of attempting to re-kill Mallory in broad daylight in full view of the lake patrol. It’s a good thing that this film is so concerned with logical progression and realistic presentations, otherwise it might get a bit silly and predictable. Good thing that didn’t happen.

*Impending Spoiler*
 
Finally, the conclusion! After a watery struggle between Mallory, Stanley, some nameless people, and the police, Stanley is left to drown, tied to one of his newest garden “acquisitions.” Everyone surfaces after the great battle and swims to the boat, forgoing to rescue one victim that is in plain view and still obviously alive. Eventually, the divers return to the lake and the now dead victim but Stanley’s corpse is never found. Naturally, although all the evidence points to the contrary, everyone presumes Stanley is dead and it’s all happily-ever-after – with a predictable Stanley related revelation. Now, don’t you just love the manner in which horror films manipulate characters taking dimwitted and creating down right dumb. For convenience sake and a contrived conclusion, everyone instantly accepts Stanley’s supposed death setting the stage for an even more inane sequel, Return to Cabin by the Lake. Grrr, not believable!

*End of Spoiler*
 
Having thoroughly dissected and rejected the weak plot as a dispensable pile of formulaic refuse, I must now comment on the acting . . . except wait . . . there wasn’t any! Judd Nelson plays the demented script writer gone homicidal. After having watched both Cabin by the Lake and its abominable sequel, I understand fully why Nelson remains a one-hit-wonder, never-been-heard-of actor. While Nelson does sport a pair of creepy looking, large blank eyes, the homicidal maniac impression ends with physical appearance. Monotone and stiff Nelson reads lines like I would read the back of a Nyquil Bottle – with minimal interest and no attachment. At the height of each murder scene where Stanley questions his victims, probing for their final feelings to weave into his script, Nelson remains unexcitable and almost bored.

But, compared to the rest of the cast, Nelson is a natural. Michael Weatherly (Boone) and Hedy Burress (Mallory) support each other with stiff, disinterested monotones, managing to effectively tackle every near death experience with a blasé, detached aura. The secondary nameless character actors including the special effects experts and the extra cops were equally talentless mixing over acting with under acting to effectively destroy any atmosphere the film might have eventually acquired.

Considering the compost heap of elements that conspire to give this film a distinct whiff of failure, why the two stars? Several elements, including the original uniqueness of the murder technique, the cinematography, and the incredible soundtrack conspire to make the film bearable, even interesting in parts. Depicting the beauty of Stanley’s chosen lake, vast water panoramas, and a strangely haunting depiction of the actual garden, the cinematography is surprisingly well done considering the budget for this film could easily fit on my student debit card. While the garden of ghouls wasn’t especially realistic (considering that none of the corpses had rotted or shown signs of fish), the bright colors, water clarity, and the strange poses of the well dressed corpses was almost haunting and disturbingly beautiful.

Likewise, the chilling song that played throughout the film was very atmospheric and strangely catchy. “Cure” an alternative rock beat (preformed by a Celtic band) is a tune that I will be seeking out for my CD collection. Combined with the scenery and the macabre theme of the movie, the song pulled the few well done elements together giving the movie promise that, sadly, failed. Worthy of the Chiller Channel Cheesefest, Cabin by the Lake aspires for greatness and instead does a dizzying dive into disappointing drivel. It’s okay-ish in segments, but overall isn’t worth watching. Rent, don’t buy.

Countess_Eva



Recommend this product? No


Viewing Format: DVD


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Cabin,gone Fishing,fisherman,dad,lodge,lake,metal Art

Cabin,gone Fishing,fisherman,dad,lodge,lake,metal Art

BKcreations1 Metal Art and Home Decor Store Payments Shipping Returns FAQ's Guarantee About Us Gone Fishing oval- Wall Decor Approximate Size:12 1/2w ...
eBay

$39.95

FREE Shipping
Bait And Tackle Dish Towels By Moda, Set Of 4, For Lake House Or Fishing Cabin

Bait And Tackle Dish Towels By Moda, Set Of 4, For Lake House Or Fishing Cabin

Bait and Tackle Dish Towels by Moda, Set of 4, for lake house or fishing cabin Bait and Tackle Dish Towels by Moda, Set of 4 Set of 4 Vintage reproduc...
eBay

$33.00

FREE Shipping
Cabin/ Lake View Window Scene

Cabin/ Lake View Window Scene

A compelling lithograph designed to enhance privacy while providing an interesting view, this faux window scene features a cabins porch with an Adiron...
Overstock.com

$63.74

FREE Shipping
Winchester Fishing Tackle Lake Beach Boat Summer Metal Tin Sign Home Cabin Decor

Winchester Fishing Tackle Lake Beach Boat Summer Metal Tin Sign Home Cabin Decor

Win - Fishing Tackle Measures 12.5 W x 16 H.***WE OFFER COMBINED SHIPPING DISCOUNTS***(For multiple tin sign orders, please contact us before checkout...
eBay

$10.99

+$5.00 shipping
Old World Christmas Lake Cabin Ornament

Old World Christmas Lake Cabin Ornament

Cabins and cottages, nestled in villages and throughout the countryside, often represent the heritage and culture of the glassblowers. This little Lak...
The Jolly Christmas Shop

$14.99

+$5.95 shipping
Lake Lures Hanging Rack

Lake Lures Hanging Rack

Go fish with this Lake Lures Hanging Rack. Its perfect for towels or wine, just pick out what you need to hang in your man cave or cabin home and catc...
Kirkland's

$36.99

+$8.95 shipping
Primitive Sign Stencilgone Fishinfish Pole Fishing Boat Cabin Bait Lake Bobber

Primitive Sign Stencilgone Fishinfish Pole Fishing Boat Cabin Bait Lake Bobber

Offering a new ~ Gone Fishin' ~ with a Bobber and Fishing Line - Stencil for Signs Actual stencil measures approx: 5.5 Tall x 19 Long. Picture is show...
eBay

$9.50

FREE Shipping
Stupell Industries Cabin and Lake Wooden Faux Window Scene FW-208

Stupell Industries Cabin and Lake Wooden Faux Window Scene FW-208

Stupell Industries FW-208 The one of kind faux window collection from The Stupell Home Décor Collection is the perfect accessory for any room. Created...
Wayfair

$59.92

FREE Shipping
Camp Run - A - Muc Dip Bowl & Spreaders Set Lodge Log Cabin Or Lake Style

Camp Run - A - Muc Dip Bowl & Spreaders Set Lodge Log Cabin Or Lake Style

Camp Run - A - Muc Canoe Dip Bowl Set Offered by HUDSONVALLEYEMPORIUM.COM This fun Camp Run A Muc ceramic canoe holds your dip and the two spreaders a...
eBay

$12.50

+$6.50 shipping